Spring is a season of renewal, and for many people, it’s a time to start repairing and preparing their yards to enjoy during the warmer months ahead. However, it’s important to remember that yard work can be physically demanding and may lead to injuries if proper body mechanics are not practiced. By taking precautions and being mindful of your body mechanics, you can enjoy spring and maintain your physical health and well-being.

This month, we sat down with Erin Peterson, to learn more about proper body mechanics when doing yard work.

Q. What does it mean to use proper body mechanics?

A. Proper body mechanics means being aware of how you move your body to maintain safety and not hurt yourself while moving, digging, or lifting. It means adhering to the right posture and technique so that you don’t overstress certain areas that are susceptible to injury.

Q. What are some common movement/lifting mistakes people make when doing yard work?

A. One of the biggest mistakes made at the start of spring is going from no yard work to spending all day outside, resulting in being sore for days. Almost all yard work tasks are manageable in short bursts or for a few repetitions, but when we overexert ourselves, this repetitive movement can lead to more serious injury. Additionally, while most of us do well with lifting heavy things up from the ground, we need to be equally careful and diligent when putting heavy things down.

Q. What are some tips or exercises one can do to maintain proper body mechanics while doing yard work?

A. A few things that can help prevent injuries during the first few weekends are to do yard work in smaller chunks of time, limit the amount of bending from your back, and kneel or sit when working close to the ground.

Q. Why are proper body mechanics important to consider?

A. Proper body mechanics are paramount to preventing injury and can allow our bodies to do a task for a longer duration or with a heavier load.

Q. What yard work activities pose the highest risk to injury?

A. Lifting moderate to heavy items and repetitive movement.

Q. If I experience pain after performing yard work, what should I do?

A. Rest, ice, and stretch. If things still don’t improve, come see your physical therapist!


Author: Erin Peterson, PT, DPT, owner of Renew Physical Therapy at Beacon Hill

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